January 5th, 2009
01:24 PM ET

Gaza Conflict: Is Pres.-Elect Obama's Silence a Mistake?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been ten days since Israel launched attacks on Gaza. Since then, President-elect Barack Obama has remained silent on the conflict.

As an excuse, Obama is sticking to what he said right after the election, that there's only one President at a time and therefore it's up to President Bush to comment. He was even asked about it today and continues to say that he won't say anything.

Two of Obama's closest lieutenants, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton have also managed to remain silent. Meanwhile many U.S. politicians have backed Israel.

Obama's critics are saying he isn't doing himself any favors with his silence. The Guardian newspaper says that as each day passes hopes are diminishing that Obama will make a fresh start in U.S. relations with the Muslim world and that he is losing ground with Muslims and Arabs. Al-Jazeera television showed video of the President-elect vacationing in Hawaii juxtaposed with video from Gaza.

Here’s my question to you: Is President-elect Obama making a mistake by remaining largely silent on the situation in Gaza?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

JR from Norfolk, Virginia writes:
C'mon Jack. Obama is just doing what he has always done as a Senator, voting "present".

Danni writes:
It is indeed a mistake. If President-elect Obama can speak about the economy now, why can't he speak on international affairs like Gaza? You can't keep telling people that there’s only one President and that you can’t comment on one topic, but keep talking about every other topic. Either step up all the way, or stand down till it’s your time.

Rich from San Clemente, California writes:
The least he could do is call for a cease fire so that humanitarian aid can reach the people of Gaza. If the years-long blockades were lifted and Gaza was allowed to participate in the world of nations instead being imprisoned and starved by Israel maybe the homemade rockets would stop coming from Gaza.

Alan from Buxton, Maine writes:
Obama is justified in remaining silent until he actually has some authority to speak for the U.S. He is at present a private citizen who once was a Senator. Any involvement on his part would be inappropriate.

Ricky from Roseville, Michigan writes:
There's a difference between influencing opinions and influencing policy. Senator Obama won't influence Bush's decision-making on the Middle East by simply stating his opinion on the escalating situation. As he is going to be our next President, it would be a good idea to hear something about the situation from him soon.

Rich writes:
No. He should immediately upon his swearing in change the course in the Middle East. Go there, sit down with Israel, Abbas, and the Hamas leaders and hammer out a deal. Hamas was elected by the Palestinians. Elections pushed by the Bush administration. Funny how Democratic principals do not always end up as you would like, but that's Democracy. Everyone gets a voice.

Bodo from Ann Arbor, Michigan writes:
As Mr. Obama has repeatedly stated, there is only ONE President. But as Representative Barney Frank has remarked, Mr. Obama is exaggerating the number of Presidents.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Israel
soundoff (142 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    As President Elect has alread said he won't be President until January 20th.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  2. Mark in OKC

    No, silence is golden right now on Obama's part. If he says anything against Israel it will only make Hamas think they will have his support in the next four years and if Obama says he supports what Israel is doing, it will only bring him ill will from the entire arab world. Commenting now is only a "lose, lose" situation for him.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  3. JD in NH

    As the President-Elect has said, ad nauseum, we have only one president at a time. Our biggest problem is that it is currently George W. Bush. If, after Obama is inaugurated, he somehow manages to attain a lasting peace in the Middle East, I'm going to rethink the whole "Obama is the Messiah" thing.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  4. don in naples, florida

    the situation is a catch 22. Israel seems to be the aggressive country here, yet we seem to point the finger in a different direction. What is Obama supposed to say, without shooting himself in the foot. The Jewish Lobby has a strong-hold on u.s. politics, so it seems the u.s. has only 2 options.. Sit back and watch israel do its thing. OR, enter into this age old conflict and continue to have 911's because of our meddling in the middle east. Know when to say when. We should exit and let israel's fate take its course.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  5. Venia

    Obama is being very wise in staying out of this mess due to the fact that we unfortunately still have Bush as president and for him to comment would be a bit presumptious. He is showing respect. On the other hand I would like to comment that I believe Isreal is being given too much free rope in this conflict and I do not believe that the US should unilaterally support ISreal no matter what they do.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Dan from Alliance, OH


    I think he is not making a mistake. He should not inject any major statements that might tip what his policy might be. He is not the President yet, but his national security team should be meeting daily to review what is going on. As far as he is allowed to mention. Remember the people he chooses need to get their security clearences before they are told anything.


    January 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Frank from Peterborough

    Since killing people is the favourite past time throughout the Middle East it wouldn't matter what Obama or any other politician says or does nothing will change from what has been happening there for thousands of years.

    I would prefer Obama to stay largely silent on the Middle East even after he officially takes office although we all know this simply won't happen.

    History pretty much shows us that trying to change the Middle East culture and governing system is conducive to taming a rattle snake and making it a pet. You know sooner or later you're going to get bit.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  8. Mike Summers

    Obama is not the president yet. And while he can make suggestions as to domestic items, he cannot do the same internationally.

    Come the day of his swearing in, I am confident that he will say something to address this matter. And I am fairly sure that this business is not going away anytime soon.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  9. Terry from North Carolina

    Barack Obama has said more than once since he was elected, we have only one president. Lets wait till the 20th, and then we can ask these questions.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Chris from Buffalo, N.Y.

    Obama's silence on this issue is not a problem. He's holding to the principle that we only have one president at a time...except when it comes to the economy.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  11. Gina in Racine, Wi

    Jack- Obama cannot in anyway step into the fray at this time.

    He has no power to do anything at this moment.....wait til January 20th.

    To even comment on this critical event would draw him into the Bush policies that are such a failure.

    He has to start fresh with his Inauguration.

    If he had the power to change what is happening and failed to act on it....that would be a totally different story.

    Obama and his team are smart enough to know that in order to have any credibility and respect.....they have to distance themselves from Bush's failures.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  12. Richard Sternagel

    The real problem is President Bush engaged in benign neglect in reference to the Israeli-Palestine conflict for the last 8 years. Obama should espouse a cease fire in the current situation. When he takes the Middle East Region should be the focus of his foreign policy.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  13. Russell

    The silence is defining but what can he say that can have an impact and not play into the hands of Hamas? He's already being quoted by the Israelis. If he did say anything I'd like to here him speak on behalf of the innocents caught in the middle of this insanity.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  14. Robert in Galveston

    Howdy Jack, As the man said there is only one president at a time so I feel he is correct in keeping silent on this subject. However, if we were getting rocketed from Canada or Mexico what do you think we would do??? The people in Gaza need to take control and stop the rocket attacks, they elected this terrorist group as their leaders and now they have to pay the price

    January 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  15. Karen

    Dear Jack,

    Mr. Obama is not President yet. It is up to President Bush to speak for America.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  16. Patrick in Hampstead, Maryland

    Jack – since Obama is being taunted by Hamas Leaders he needs to just come out and say he supports Peace between Palestine and Israel and rejects Hamas as a terrorist organization. He should also offer an olive branch to Hamas with clear conditions for Peace and demand Hamas reinvent itself and reject terrorism. He should also insist on a bi-partisan solution for achieving Peace. I think he is missing an opportunity here for some tough love.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
  17. Larry in Florida

    He's going to be president in 2 weeks. Time to step up to the plate Jack. Can't be president if your worried about stepping on a few toes. Time to show the American people what he's made of. Honeymoons coming to an end.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  18. Denise.....Boardman, Ohio

    Good to see you back Jack...I pray that you and your family had a blessed holiday season....Jack, I do not think that his silence is a mistake....President Elect Obama IS NOT President yet...what exactly could he say or do that would or could influence this situation?....as President Elect he CANNOT sat policy...if he were to say something that would negatively affect this situation, the Republicans and the MSM would be all over him...I say, he is doing the right thing by staying "silent" until such time as "what he says" can be used as policy to try and help resolve an already dire situation...

    January 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  19. Roger from Espanola, New Mexico

    President-Elect Obama must keep silent until in office. Anything Obama, would say now, while not being able to act, would only incite reactions from all sides which could seriously affect if not impede U.S.
    positions and policies regarding this crisis. The U.S has not been able to greatly change relations between Israelites and Palestinians in the past. I'm sure that the people of Gaza and the rst of Israel can wait until President Obama's team and Scretary Clinton can offer concrete ideas. In the meantime, the rest of the world will be getting t5heir two cents in as well as the United Nations. But...when has Israel or have the Palestinians ever listened to anyone else anyway?

    January 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  20. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Israel is just protecting itself from unprovoked rocket attacks by Hamas. That Israel is being depicted as the bad guy is just wrong. Hamas has vowed to kill every Israeli Jew. Obama,The U.S. and every other country should just mind their own business and let Israel protect its own people.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  21. Rod from Allentown PA

    Why is it we can't get through our heads that Obama is not yet the President? Once he is, he can sound off with his thoughts about Israel and every other crisis he will have to deal with. I give him credit for staying the course on this. He is apparently a lot smarter than most of the people wondering why he does not get involved at this time.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  22. Brady

    Definitely. This will probably still be a big issue once Obama becomes President. Obama should make some sort of statement on what his position is concerning the Gaza conflict.

    Brady from Columbus, Ohio

    January 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  23. Paul S. Columbia, SC

    He should stay out of it. A private in basic training has more military knowledge than Obama and the rest of the knuckleheads in Congress do. Better yet; Obama should call Bill Clinton and ask his advice. After all he is an expert at avoiding anything military.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  24. Terry in Hanover County

    The U.S. has one President at a time and, sadly, it's still Bush. The proper time for Obama to address this issue publically is in 15 days and counting down!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  25. Mel from Chicago

    Not at all. Remember he's President-Elect Obama. He can say alot right now, but can't do anything until he's the President. Bush is still the president. What has he had to say?

    January 5, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  26. James Lenon

    Obama is behaving correctly. He is not yet in office and has no authority to speak for the nation.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  27. Erico mb33139

    Obama's silence about the Israel situation is probably due to its sensitivity. He's even mentioned that there is "one president" at a time. Any contradiction or agreement with the outgoing administration could bite him in the butt later.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  28. Dave in MO

    I think his silence should make Israel nervous!

    January 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  29. Silas, Cameron, NC

    I think Pres-Elect Obama made it clear already that there is only one president at a time. The question should be, where the heck is Bush at on this? This maybe a transition time for the country, but that doesn't mean we have the next month off from our duties. Obama has every right to stay silent on the subject until he is the president.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  30. Allan G. Hanson

    NO but as soon as he is sworn in he shoud be not as partisan as this administration.
    Ther Palastinians have a right to survival, and statehood with no interferance from Isreal, something Isreal has not accepted.
    We should cut off all aid to Isreal forever.
    Keep our money hwere at home.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  31. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    No because we don't know what is going on behind the scenes. President Elect Obama is just that, President Elect. We need to hold our breath one more time and leave the current president in charge handle it. I am sure Obama and his staff is being kept up to speed. I think both Presidents are on the same page in this one. They both made statements that Israel has the right to protect itself from stopping missiles being fired into their country.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  32. Will from San Jose

    Obama should stay out of Gaza until he is President, of course the Israeli government should have stayed out of Gaza altogether. Apparently they learned nothing from the failed assault on Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    When you are a Goliath beating on a David you can't win. All Hamas has to do is survive and they can claim victory. This action will only strengthen their hold and public support in the territories. The rockets need to be stopped but this was entirely the wrong way to do it.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  33. john ...... marlton nj

    yes, silence is the same as condoning Israels action

    January 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  34. Jackie in Dallas

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    No, I don’t think his silence is a mistake. His comment was that there is only ONE President of the United States, and that is correct. Until his Inauguration, although he should be working closely with the State Department and the Pentagon to stay on top of the situation, he should not be making public statements. Those statements should only be coming from our current, curiously silent President.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  35. Joe in DE

    If he says anyhting, it should simply that he will do everything possible to resolve the problem and halt violence.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  36. Nancy, Tennessee

    One President at a time. President-elect Barack Obama understands that he cannot make policy, he cannot send in his new Secretary of State, and he cannot overstep his authority. He must wait until being sworn in and then he can move into the White House, sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, and start the most challenging years of his life. We all know that he will hit the ground running, dribbling, and pressing forward toward the goal of bringing the United States back to her feet. We too have to be patient 15 more days.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  37. Mike, Vancouver

    I think that it is not a mistake. The real big mistake here is the question "Where has the United States gone?".

    United States of America is absent in performing it's role as mediator in situations lke this.

    George Bush and party are absent in fulfilling theri duties to the last day of being in office. He has left a power vacuum that warring parties are taking advantage of.

    If Obama makes policy now it could be his downfall as it will be without the power of the office.

    This whole situation is showing that the US is becoming a party with no credibility, thanks to the Republicans.

    The warring factions are using the same arguments that Bush used to go to war in Iraq.

    Obama need to have a clean entry that separates him from the Bush Administration.

    No he should not do anything until he has been sworn in office. Further to the fact that there is only one president at a time. Whereas we have a President Elect and a Vacuum with all of the problems that will create.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  38. Gerry

    Obama should be silent, there is only one president at a time and all national security issues need to be handled by one administration not two.

    Unfortunately, no one told that to Bloomberg.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  39. John in Atlanta, GA

    He is the PRESIDENT-ELECT!!! Don't you think this would be a great question for the SITTING President??

    January 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  40. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Barack Obama has shown time and time again that he's not a "shoot from the hip" type of person. He thinks carefully about what he says, unlike the current, sitting, lame duck, lame-brain.

    Let's review:
    "Either you're with us, or you're with the terrorists."
    "Major combat operations are over."
    "If anyone in my administration was involved in the (Valerie Plame) leak, they will be fired."

    Maybe it's genetic, because even his father once famously said:
    "Read my lips. No new taxes!"

    January 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  41. Mary Helen, Bloomington IL

    No it is not – when will Everyone get it through their heads that he is not President yet, he has not taken the oath yet. Yes he commented on the Mumbai massacre but there were American lives lost. Give the man time; this mess is on Bush's watch, he/ Rice should be the ones doing something – ha! He is ready on day 1 even for that 3am call. Mary Helen in Bloomington IL

    January 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  42. Rose in Az

    Yes, Obama's silence just supports my concerns about his foreign policy experience. This seems to be a pattern for him.
    If this is the kind of change he is making, then the voters of this country made a serious mistake.

    January 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  43. Jenna Wade

    Is President-elect Obama making a mistake by remaining largely silent on the situation in Gaza?

    He wasn't silent about the attack in India, not sure why he is silent now.

    I sure hope that he accomplishes an EQUAL 2 State solution so that these 2 sets of people that were promised the same piece of land would get off each others backs. Plus have Jerusalem a seperate state like the Vatican.

    What is happening in Gaza today falls squarely on GW Bush's back. He forced those "democratic" elections even though Abbas said he wasn't ready and Hamas won. Because he and Israel didn't get the results they wanted they have punished the Palestinians ever since.

    As for those rockets, since 2001 only 23 Isaelis have lost their lives to Palestinian rockets where as close to 6000 Palestinians have lost their lives to Israeli/US rockets. We don't hear much about Palestinian lives lost in the news – do we?

    Roseville CA

    January 5, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
  44. Ray Kinserlow

    No, he is just playing by the rules. George W. Bush is still President and obviously still capable of mucking things up as badly as he ever was.

    Ray Kinserlow
    Lubbock, Texas

    January 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  45. David - Vancouver

    Keep it simple. Obama should deal with the folks who are supplying Hamas with missiles and with those financing them.

    With a reported 80% unemployment in Gaza, Hamas cannot have the tax resources to do this and still provide government services.

    Turn off the tap! That's how the Allies defeated Rommel in WW2.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  46. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    How can it be a mistake? He hasn't even taken office yet. There's already someone in the White House right now. He needs to deal with this problem until Obama has officially taken office.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  47. Les Oklahoma

    I take his word for it we have only one President at a time when it come to foreign policy. Let Rice and Bush do nothing which is what they have been doing for the past eight years.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  48. S, Michigan

    He can remain silent until Jan 20th (one Prez at a time)- but beyond that if he stays silent, then BIG mistake! As it is, we've lost enough respect and stature in the world thanks to Lil Bushy.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm |
  49. Christine, Thousand Oaks California

    No, it is not a mistake. George W Bush is still the President, plain and simple.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  50. Greg, Ontario

    No he has enough on his own plate. If he was coming into office with a balanced budget and a steady and growing economy there maybe some logic to him speaking out, but not now.
    Hamas has to learn that when you poke the Grizzly sooner or later you are going to get your head bitten off.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  51. David Bebeau

    We had a good situation ? Right
    Hamas would not renew ? Right
    Hamas started shooting ? Right
    So what is new going all the way back to Clinton.Hamas is not interested in peace at all.Mr Obama is being respectful of Mr Bush
    and that is the right thing to do.The press is trying once again to make a good thing into a bad thing.His respectful silence is not a bad thing.
    David Bebeau

    January 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  52. Gloria Steinberg

    Probably not the first, but one of many to come I'm afraid.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  53. Brian - Trinidad

    I'm sorry but as the saying goes 'What you see is what you get'!I'm not one of those who believe that Obama's current silence on any issue reflects careful consideration blah blah blah etc.This man simply doesn't have a clue on what to do and where to go with these major issues.He's silent because he simply doesn't have anything wise to add.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  54. Neatha from Kansas City

    I don't think so, he is in a tough position. There can only be one president at a time. Unfortunately for the President-Elect, the current President cannot be trusted to do anything for the next 15 days.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  55. JR in Norfolk VA

    C'mon Jack – Obama is just doing what he has always done as a senator – voting "present".

    January 5, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  56. Robert W. Brooks


    I think President-Elect Obama is showing respect for the Office of the President by not expressing his viewpoint on the Gaza conflict until he takes office. Too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the brew.

    Forest, VA

    January 5, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  57. Anne from Vero Beach, FL

    President Obama has more important things to worry about right here in America. There is nothing anyone can do about the ongoing conflicts in the middle east. Plopping the Israelis down in the middle of Arab land decades ago was a stupid thing to do and has led to nothing but continuous violence. I think Obama realizes the futility of the situation and has some sympathy for the Palestinians, as many of us do. Of course, he can't act on that because it is a cardinal sin to not back Israel 100%. Who knows what he'll do. I just hope he acts from his heart and not go about it in the usual politically correct fashion.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  58. bob, oshawa, ontario

    Jack, no because that is still the responsibility of the Bush administration. When Obama does take office, he should try to be fair and not automatically take the side of Israel. Fault can be appropriated to both combatants and he should first ask the UN to intervene because this organization has the responsibility to act to bring about a ceasefire. The onus of bartering a peace does not always have to be left to the U.S.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  59. David in Raleigh, NC

    Obama is doing the right thing. We only have 1 President until 1/20/09 and that President is GW Bush.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  60. L.M.,Arizona

    Can we all say it together america has one president at a time. Obama is no longer a senator speaking for Illnois he is the next president of the USA. So as much as we want him to be president, we have to wait until January 20,2009. Bush can still bomb Iran,he can sign peace agreements with Hamas,and he can resign.


    January 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  61. Bodo, Ann Arbor

    As Mr. Obama has repeatedly stated, there is only ONE President. But as Rep. Barney Frank has remarked, Mr. Obama is exaggerating the number of Presidents.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
  62. Lois Canada

    He most certainly is. I can't help but feel that with all the talk he has done about protecting Israel, it is bothering him that Israel is doing the same thing that Bush did with Iraq! Tough for him to comment without a doubt!

    January 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  63. Mike CA

    Like he says one President at a time.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  64. Tino

    Yes, but I'm not surprised. I guess I should have written in Kucinich's name on the ballot as I originally intended to do.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm |
  65. Richard Green

    Yes, he is making a mistake.....unless he agrees with how Bush is enabling the killing of hundreds of innocent people by Israel. The least he could do is call for a cease fire so that humanitarian aid can reach the people of Gaza. If the years-long blockades were lifted and Gaza was allowed to participate in the world of nations instead being imprisoned and starved by Israel maybe the homemade rockets would stop coming from Gaza.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  66. mitchell, arkansas

    no. politics stops at the shoreline. besides, israel has a right to defend itself from terror. and Barack supports israel.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  67. Mike S.,New Orleans

    No. Obama is smart. He isn't President yet, so he knows it would be inappropriate for him to speak out on current foreign conflicts until he is completely briefed by intelligence sources. It is a refreshing change from the Gonzo 'Smoke 'em out' approach.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  68. Rich Monk

    No. He should immediately upon his swearing in change the course in the Middle East. Go there, sit down with Israel, Abbas, and the Hamas leaders and hammer out a deal. Hamas was elected by the Palistinians. Elections pushed buy the "BUSH-ed" administration. Funny how democratic prinicals do not always end up as you would like, but that's Democracy. Everyone gets a voice. The strong, the weak, the moronic. How else could we ever have a "Republican Party" in this country of ours?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:28 pm |
  69. Lynn, Boise, ID

    No, I don't think it is. I think it is wise for Obama to focus on the economy and for Bush to focus on the Gaza conflict. It's wise for Obama to make it clear the world that Bush is still in charge until he is sworn in. It is also wise of Bush to let Obama tackle some of the economic problems. They seem to be working well together and it will be good for us all in the long run.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  70. Cheryl, Cocoa Fl

    No, he's completely right. We havea sitting president (such as he is) and Obama will have to take this on soon enough. For now I respect his silence.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  71. Lee in TN

    You forget that he said,"There can only be one President at a time." And it seems that Bush is still there.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  72. Paul Round Rock, Texas

    Not at ths time. After all Isreal took advantage of the lame duck that will not even try to stop any of their actions. Isreal used the Bush adminastration to take this action now. Obama will go in office with yet another mess to try to wade through and smooth out.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  73. Erik

    Obama would be making a mistake by opening his mouth right now. He is not the president until Jan 20th. On the other hand, Bush's silence is a mistake. No one's making a fuss about that.

    McDonough, GA

    January 5, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  74. Mike, Syracuse NY

    No Jack. It's better than someone with zip foreign policy experience screwing things up by saying something stupid. Once he's sworn in, Biden and Clinton can tell him what to say.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  75. Jay in Atlanta

    No. Let's face it. Israel withdrew from Gaza and gave it to the Palestinians in exchange for peace. Then the Palestinians used Gaza to fire missiles into Israel. What could possibly be said? If Cuba were firing missiles into Florida, what do you think might be the reaction, and what could possibly be said to criticize an appropriate response.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  76. Vinnie Vino


    Not at all, time after time he has stated we only have one President at a time. Right now the mess in the middle east belongs to President Bush. On January 20, 2009 President-elect Obama will inherit this endless headache... Good luck...

    C.I., New York

    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  77. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Is President(?) George W. Bush's ABSENCE a mistake?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  78. Jerry from Jacksonville

    No, he needs to remain silent on this issure for the time being. He will have ample time to express his opinion very soon. Let Bush and his band of idiots take all the heat for this little conflict.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  79. Mickie

    NO! I'm sure he would like to have more say, but he has not even met with all of the individuals that he would like to meet with before making a comment. You would think he had been put into office on Nov. 4 the way people are complaining about him not jumping into every fray. Let me see, when Bush took over, did he get involved in every decision, event, disagreement Clinton had from Nov. 4 til Jan. 20? He hasn't even gotten involved since Jan. 20, except to do Cheney's bidding but I didn't heare people complaining too much about that except us poor middle class who were left out and the people harmed by him taking away habeus corpus. Oh, and the millions his and Cheney's cronies made off the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  80. Joshua - Chicago, IL

    I thought it was funny how the leader of Hamas called Obama out like he was a WWE wrestler. However it shows me that even they are looking to Obama for leadership and literaly can't wait for GWB to leave. Also, the situation in Gaza is completely different to the terrorist attacks in India because American life was lost. Just wait until you hear Obama on Janurary 21st!

    January 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  81. Meg Ulmes

    No, I think that Obama is doing the right thing. He isn't president yet, and Bush still is, though it's hard to tell. It's pretty obvious that the Bush Administration is going to do nothing about Gaza except to repeat their catch phrase, "It's Hamas fault." Nothing else is being done–Rice is going to the region. President-Elect Obama's silence does emphasize the fact that the Bush Administration is doing nothing–but waiting for January 20th.

    Troy, Ohio

    January 5, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  82. Brian from NC

    No, I don't think so. He has said repeatedly that there is only one President at a time. The entire world knows that the policies of an Obama administration as it relates to the Middle East will be much different than the current one. Maybe Israel knows that too and that's why they chose to launch their attacks on Gaza BEFORE January 20. My guess is that things will change considerably once Obama is in office.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  83. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    No. If he disagrees with the current administration's position even slightly and says so, that would just cause more havoc in the world. We need to have just one position on this issue-even if it's the wrong one.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  84. Jay-San Antonio

    Yes, keep your mouth shut. Especially if you plan on going in a different direction. His comments could only cause more problems.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  85. wally Ruehmann las vegas nv

    No he isn't the president now but he better eat his Wheaties and get ready to take on some of the worst messes of anybody before him. he's going to have to be a marathon man, getting slammed from every side possible.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  86. odessa

    nope because we only have one president at a time meaning bush..he is supposed to make statements regarding gaza conflict..hamas is a terrorist organization and all this fighting is about land for decades...i'm sorry for what is happening over there but united states now have its own problems...it is time to get all international countries besides us because we need to solve our problems meaning the economy, healthcare crisis, foreclosures etc...everyone has to wait until obama gets in office on jan. 20..just let bush finish his tasks before obama gets sworns in...

    January 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  87. Tony from Torrington

    Leon Edward Panetta as the head of the CIA. The man in charge of our intelligence is Leon Panetta? Silence? Obama is silent? His choices will be heard across the world and will be very loud. I'm sure we will hear the results of his choices LOUD AND CLEAR.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  88. Pat,Clearwater Florida

    Silence is golden. In this case he is not the President yet, he then
    can give his opinion on this situation created by the middle east
    to divert attention off our failing economy. Rockets have been
    going off for months and now they have been told to start a
    situation. Wink , Wink the Hawks in the Bush administration!!1

    January 5, 2009 at 3:52 pm |
  89. Gigi

    We can have only one president at a time, thank you very much.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  90. Steve Peach - Indiana

    No, not at all. In fact, he has always said "one president at a time" and he is holding true to that statement. What message would it send to the rest of the world if he were to get involved now? To me, I think the Middle East would think that we may not have a president until Jan. 20th, forgetting Bush is still in office. And what about Bush? He hasn't said much since this whole thing has kicked off. Maybe he finally realizes that his ineffectiveness would be a burden to Obama later, and that in and of itself is a classy presidential move, probably the only one he's made!

    January 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  91. Connie from Indiana

    Jack, If Obama cannot move in the white house today he needs to keep quite,but the whole world, I am sure will see some action starting Jan. 21st. The Middle East had better watch out there will be a new sheriff in town.I believe Obama will send his lipstick wearing pit bull (Sec. State Clinton)after all of them.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  92. ajks

    He is doing what is proper for a President-Elect. He is not President at this time, and it would send confusing messages to other countries if we would have two leaders saying different things about the situation. He is doing the right thing.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  93. Karen - Nashville

    Obama's critics would be harping no matter what he said or didn't say, but he is right in showing his respect for the sitting president and preparing for his own administration. Besides, he'll have eight years of dealing with this mess, so why start now?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  94. Karl from SF, CA

    What the hell is he supposed to say? We only have one President and until he disappears, he speaks for the country, unfortunately. The reality is, those people have been fighting for centuries and I don't see that waiting another 15 days for Obama to take charge will change much. Get a grip, folks, he isn't sworn in yet, remember?

    January 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  95. Kevin, Chester Springs, PA

    Hey, Obama is gonna be sworn in as President 2 weeks from tomorrow. Until then he should not offer comments on foreign policy, especially about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.. There is only one president at a time. So the Muslims and Arabs should chill out. I know everyone in the world is anxious to say farewell to Bush. But we waited almost 8 years now to say good by, another few days won't kill us... well, hopefully not.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  96. Liz in Towson, MD

    No, he's not. He's right; there is only one President at a time. But even when Obama is sworn in, I'd actually LIKE to see him remain silent, or at least soft-spoken. The U.S. has gotten itself into more trouble than it's worth by trying to correct the rest of the world's problems. It's about time the rest of the world helps itself.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  97. Pat,Lexington, Ky.

    I don't think Obama is making a mistake – goodness knows he'll have to comment and do more than comment very soon. Anyone commenting on this crisis should be from the Bush group until noon on Jan. 20th. Obama is not part of the Bush administration and it would sure be wierd if he and George made a joint statement. No, silence is golden in this situation.

    January 5, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  98. Tom in WA

    No, he needs to let the current administration handle the public responses. His job is to council in private and wait for January 20th to make his mark.

    Tom in WA

    January 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  99. Jane (Minnesota)

    He's not President yet & I think it's fine that he doesn't weigh in on it – for now. I would hope that he and his foreign policy people are studying this situation & will be ready to get involved in diplomacy to help resolve it come January 20th.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  100. Chryssa

    If he did speak up, people would be critical of him acting like he's president before it's official. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Just 15 more days of this nonsense, then we can get down to business.

    Boise, ID

    January 5, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  101. bill, PA

    The middle east is a tough, though set of problems! The new team has NOT had a chance to see all the classified intelligence they need to have as basis for making decisions. So we must wait till Jan. 21's security briefing for the new administration.
    Silence now is wise and the only path that allows for the evaluation of all the necessary information on and after Jan. 21.
    The media only looks for and creates conflict. Conflict will not help solve our problems, any of them!
    Conflict is not news. Creating conflict is similar to yelling fire. Only causes panic.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  102. Sherri

    You know what Jack? I am sick & tired of the USA involving herself with other countries religious conflicts. America is in CRISIS mode and whatever is going on between Israel & Hama, a few words from PE Obama is NOT going to stop the bombings. PE Obama has already stated that Israel has a right to defend herself and if Hama wants to coward among the civilians in GAZA then there is nothing America can do, nothing President Bush can do, AND nothing that PE Obama can do. For once, lets take care of America and the CRISIS she is in. President-Elect Obama is not the President and should make any statements. America is in a WAR at home with MILLIONS of Jobless Americans & a economy that is in a CRISIS!.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  103. James in Dublin, OH

    We all know that if Obama was to express opinion, those same critics would say that he is overstepping his bounds, reminding him that he is not yet President. He will have his turn soon enough to deal with the situation. I am not sure I would show my hand at this point either. It seems that Israel is taking a page out of the U.S. foreign relations book. Charge in and deal with the consequences later.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  104. ken-tx

    It is proper respect for Obama to not interfere.

    Unlike arogant self serving republican behavior of too long and
    hopefully never again !

    January 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  105. hugh ~ tracy, california

    Since President-elect Obama has not yet taken the oath of office, there must be many undisclosed facts–as of yet–that have not been revealed to him by the Department of Defense. So, I'd assume he's been advised that it would be premature to make any statement regarding the Gaza conflict until he officially becomes our new Commander-in-Chief. Once in office I'm sure he'll act quickly, but we can't expect him to perform miracles.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  106. Ed from Durango, Colorado

    He ain't the president yet and should not be making any comments. Of course the deafening silence from our president bush is totally another matter. Obama should have been sworn in last November.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  107. Darren

    There's only one president at once and President-elect Obama is doing the right thing by not giving his opinions that counter the sitting president's.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  108. Bill

    Silence when Israel uses excessive force. Not much change here.
    It brings to mind the definition of insanity, with regard to Israeli tactics, and some recent US forays. Same hammer approach...while expecting different results.
    How about a new and balanced approach?


    January 5, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  109. Annie, Atlanta

    Can you just imagine him taking a stance different than Bush? The Republicans would be foaming at the mouth? Why is it taking years for January 20th to get here?

    January 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  110. j/NJ

    Is President-elect Obama making a mistake by remaining largely silent on the situation in Gaza?

    Why all the media pressure to get Obama to weigh in on a very complex foreign policy issue that he is unable to control at this time?...

    January 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm |

    Barack Hussein Obama is making a mistake on many critical issues. This is just another that he is ducking. Others are the bailouts, the crisis with the big 3 automakers and the issue and his involvement with the bribery case pending against Gov Blagojevich. Now you know why he resigned from the senate after being elected. When he is sworn in as president, he will side with Hamas because he is a muslim. Just as the protests over Israel attacking the Gaza strip. That is ironic. They didn't protest against Hamas when they were firing rockets into Israel. Another thing is that he knows you can't negotaite with muslims. Trying to talk to muslims is like talking to a brick wall

    January 5, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  112. Dee in Florida

    Like he has said, there can only be one President at a time. The mistake is that the CURRENT President seems not to be doing anything, merely coasting down the hill of his p[residency.

    I think Obama must begin strategy meetings with his team, and must be given ALL the intelligence he will need to hit the ground running on innauguration day. I think the cinfirmation of those of his team who require confirmation should be the first priority, and that should be fast-tracked.

    However, I think that no matter who is in the White House i5 will be a tough task to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back to the table.

    What I would hope for would be someone with a magic wand who could wave it and make those two enemies see that they could just LIVE TOGETHER, grow up and quit squabbling, and act like adults, and not kids on the playground! The warfare is stupid, the perpetrators are stupid and until they learn to live together the region will be in constant conflict.

    Maybe it is time for the CIVILIANS who it is reported are always getting killed in the battles, to stand up and say NO MORE, then get rid of those who wish to fight all the time and get some leaders with some sense.

    I'm glad we have separation of Church and Stte in this country! Otherwise we might be in the same mess.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  113. Emerson in Mass.

    I guess he could say "it's bad to shoot across the border" (would either Hamas or Israel recognize he was talking to them and not just to their neighbor??)

    January 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  114. Mohammad

    Jack, silence is acceptance. "we only have one president at one time." really? what would he have said if now Iran or turkey were pounding Israel the way they are pounding Gaza? would he be silent if Israel was being pounded? of course not, it is double standard. Americans say "Give me liberty or give me death." But if a Muslim fights to death for his liberty when his territory is under siege or under attack he is a terrorist.


    January 5, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  115. Pugas-AZ

    The less said about anything the better. This includes after Jan 20th. Action speaks louder than words. I don't see where Obama can win on this one-or any other president for that matter.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  116. karen-phoenix

    NO!!! We have ONE, repeat ONE president at a time!!!! Listen to Obama!!!

    January 5, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  117. Al in IA

    Just as Senator Biden predicted, the terrorists would test Barack Obama. Who knew it would come so soon?

    January 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  118. Rebecca H. Sussman

    Jack, this is a silly question. NO! The present president still is, unfortunately, Bush. Obama will address this when he becomes the next President on Jan. 20, 2009. Obama has already said, There can be only one President at a time." I can only say that I long for peace in the Middle East, however, when my next-door neighbor straps bombs and decides to kill himself and innocent people or keeps breaking treaties or just wants their neighbor to give up more land and they belong there, too, what would you do? You and I do not live there. How dare we even cast judgement. I do not hate or dislike Palestine. I am an equal opportunity discriminator. There are in every culture people who are scumbags, racists, despise peace and on it goes. I do not like my own species. No wonder I prefer my dog.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
  119. Lynda Ridgefield, CT.

    Jack, have you forgotten that we have a president and his name is Bush. He has been quiet of late. Has he moved to Texas already?

    January 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  120. D. Texas

    Yes until he is President

    January 5, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  121. Jim Shipley

    Seeing thousands of caged, starving people blown to bits with our tax money, sure makes you proud to be an American doesn't it? Dose it not bother you that the pretty bombs that look like fireworks are banned cluster bombs that we gave Israel with the express condition they could never be used on civilians? Israel is having the time of their lives. Just like shooting fish in a barrel. All we have to do is borrow some more money to pay their bills, Pay at the pump, and enjoy all the hatred from the rest of the world. Isn't it great to be an American?

    January 5, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  122. connie, Richmond, VA

    Obama is not making a mistake because he HAS issued at least 3 statements since this conflict started. CNN even carried them! So, they and the rest of the media continues to try to make this a controversy by quoting even foreign politicians.

    He has made statements but just didn't say what the media and other s want him to say. He cannot make any statement of policy as he not yet the president. Everyone knows this but continues to ask the stupid question. I agree with someone upthread who said Israel has too much of a stronghold over the US.

    p.s. The timing by Israel is no accident. They've been threatening this thru out the GE with Bush giving tacit approval.

    January 5, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  123. Cheri, Tucson, AZ

    Give it a rest, already!

    The man isn't even President yet and the newsies are all over him. He can't affect policy in any event-not until January 20th and that is something those dumb foreigners don't understand. The US is not Europe with its shadow cabinets or the Middle East with its anarchists and tyrants who wouldn't understand democracy if it bit them in the you-now-where.
    Mr. Obama will have much to say come January 20- so give it a rest, people

    January 5, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  124. Lynn, Columbia, Mo..

    Bush hasn't stopped free speech. Obama could say what he wants any time he wants, as a citizen. The US vetoed a UN statement against Israel's excessive force. What Americans don't know is that Israel renigged on a promise to let the people of Gaza come and go as they liked into Egypt and the rest of their country. Israel is turning Palestine into a new Vietnam or Afghanistan. The hatred will never end. Obama's silence serves no purpose, nor does a statement.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  125. connie, Richmond, VA


    Folks here who want Obama to make a statement aren't considering two things: 1) he isn't the prez yet and 2) what if his position differs from Bush's? It would not only be inappropriate but possibly treasonous! At best it sends a very mixed message to the world.

    Once again, Obama HASN'T been silent. He's made no fewer than 3 stattements about this. I'm not surprised if citizens don't keep up, but the media should know better.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  126. B-Koi Vancouver Island, BC

    What doe's everyone want Obama to do? If he speaks out,. then you guys in the media critique that, if he doesn"t then you criticize that .Will everyone PLEASE just give the guy a break? I didn't see any one of you people's name on the ballot for President ! Everyone is looking for an angle, an edge, to make headlines. Isn't about time, that seeing the state of the world, and the economy, that we all GROW UP.?

    January 5, 2009 at 5:05 pm |
  127. Fran from Toronto

    Jack, I think Obama should be silent as he is but behind the scene should not allow the current administration apply their failed policy in middle east any more. Middle East has got enough of Bush and now they are killing time to allow the Israeli army killing more Palestinian children and women.
    Jack, Thanks for your extraordinary question as always.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  128. lee Ft Myers, FL

    The conflict has been going since we have history in this world and it can not wait 2 more weeks?

    January 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  129. dh

    For Obama, Gaza can wait but he must act as President by meeting with Congress immediately about the economy???? Is this selective," Acting as President"??

    January 5, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  130. josh

    To David from San Bernardino,

    The US should just stay out of it? Ah, how convenient now. You don't want America to criticize Israel? Fine. How about Israel returns the over 100 billion dollars in aid it has received from America since 1948? How about we reject the nearly 3 billion dollars in aid we send Israel yearly in economic/military aid?

    The entire IAF/IDF military is made up of US equipment. Whenever Israel bombs someone, it's America's business. Don't bite the hand that feeds you DAVID.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  131. Annie

    While he's still President-elect – silence is his best option.

    I trust and pray though, that when he becomes President Barack Obama, that he loudly and firmly takes the position as peace broker in this insanity.

    Jan 20th cannot come soon enough – for so many reasons.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  132. diana

    now he is at a loss for words?! he will be leading this country and his opinions are extremely important at this time...whether he has been sworn in yet or not! he needs to speak out now!

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  133. shyam

    And since when is Obama the US president supposed to speak to please people antagonistic to the US ?

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  134. shirley J

    If He speaks out, you would say that he is trying to undermind The PRESIDENT (Mr. Bush). He' s already trying to take his place.

    Why is it that every time something happens you expect for him to jump up and then you would find all kind of negative things about him and it would all be bad. Let President Bush and Miss Rice take care of the business at hand. And on January 20, 2009, then ask President -elect if he has ideas that are now his judgement on the war. BUT UNTIL THEN Leave the man along and let his take care of what he need to be doing, not on what you think. I would like to see all of you that ALWAYS have an answer for everything that is happening in the world and take care of it. YOU ARE SO GOOD AT SECOND GUESSING ALL THINGS, AND YOU HAVE ALL OF THE ANSWERS. "WHAT A WORLD" ALL WORDS AND NOT ACTION.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  135. Zach, Highlands Ranch CO

    Jack, last time I checked, Obama wasn't president yet, so why posture and preach when it isn't even his responsibility yet. Let the pundits point their fingers in the proper direction, which currently leads straight to President Bush.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  136. Shady, Montreal Qc.

    Come on lets be honest, we all know the Arabs like Obama because of his middle name and that he has Muslim relatives. Arabs think that he will be their savior and this is why every Arab voted for him thinking that maybe he would take their side and not Israel's. Israel is not doing anything wrong the world has to know that Hammas is the one to blame, they are using the Palestinians as a shield against Israel for Iran's, Syria's and Hezbollahs's personal agenda. Although it is wrong to say this I believe this war came at a good time because I would definitely like to see the future president react to this matter as this war will not be short and will start many other conflicts in the middle east in the next few months.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  137. Janet, Los Angeles CA

    Why isn't anyone questioning the relative quiet of the current president and his team relative to anywhere in the middle East (except Iraq) for the last 8 years? A few sound bites calling Hamas terrorists and supporting Israel's right to "defend itself" isn't exactly jumping into the issue. Yes Bush is on his way out, but he's not gone yet. He could have said something or taken a stand on this manifestation of the conflict when it started. It seems he abdicated all his responsibiltiies on November 5th – except for signing a few incredibly dumb last minute laws.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  138. Paul

    This country needs to focus on one thing, the people of the US. We need to stop being everything to everyone. That means the good, the bad and the ugly. The more we keep our nose out of the worlds business, the more the world needs to deal with it and the less we pay for out our pockets. Look where it has gotten us so far in the last 8 years. I along with millions of other Americans are broke and the Middle East has our money in thier pocket.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  139. Steve in Chaska

    Absolutely not. He is smart enough to stay away. Why waste time, energy, and our country's money on solving a problem that has no viable solution? I hope he views it as a waste of time and not worthy of his time. Hopefully, he is more concerned with propping up American again and increasing jobs.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  140. yea

    its not his place.

    January 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  141. Shawn CA


    If he has an opinion, of course he should say it. That is the glory of living in this country. It seems like most of the folks that have written in have said no, but they sure are outspoken and quick to back the Islamic terrorist groups that are supported by Hamas (Iran). Maybe they should all move out of this country they seem to hate so much and go to Gaza to help all the people that Hamas has forgotten about so they can build rockets, bunkers and line their pockets (remember the Taliban). I'm sure they would have a different opinion if they had rockets from Mexico falling around them.

    If Hamas would have squashed the terrorist groups themselves, the foreign aid would be pouring in and all their people could live in peace and prosper, but obviously that is not on their agenda. If you support terrorism you are a terrorist and we all know you can't negotiate with a terrorist, otherwise you wouldn't be a terrorist.

    January 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  142. Lavelle McCastle in Fort Worth, Tx

    I do think Bush is the "worst President that we ever had!" Sen. Reid is right in saying so, but what do we say about him as Senate Majority Leader allowing Bush to run rampant on his watch so if Bush is the worst President of them all than what does that say about him. hint hint hint!

    January 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |